As Tasmania increasingly becomes a must-visit destination on the world stage, visitors are streaming into the Apple Isle to enjoy its many and varied sights and activities. As the nearest major port of call from mainland Australia, Launceston is bursting with great things to do for you and the kids. So, whether you’ve disembarked from the Spirit of Tasmania for a locally based holiday, or are venturing beyond Launceston on a longer road trip, you and the family will be spoilt for choice for things to do and see.
With our own two young boys, we’re often exploring new places to visit in Launceston, so we’ve shared some of our own favourite hotspots to explore, eat and play – fun for all the family! Don’t forget to come and visit our Cellar Door – we’re an easy 40-minute drive from Launceston and we’re definitely family-friendly. The kids just love feeding our beloved General Manager, Pinot d’ Pig!
Situated just 15 minutes from Launceston’s CBD, it’s no wonder that Cataract Gorge is often the first place visitors make a beeline for. But it’s not just its convenient proximity that makes this a Launceston landmark – this is truly a natural wonder, where beautiful bush tracks lead you over the famous suspension bridge, and a cruise along the river, or an exhilarating ride on reputedly the world’ longest chairlift bring a whole new perspective to this magnificent Gorge and its wildlife. Unmissable entertainment for the whole family.
Travel back in time and experience the fun at Penny Royal, a perfect family adventure destination and accommodation option set along the Tamar River about 10 minutes from central Launceston. There’s something here for you and the children to enjoy and you could easily while away a day exploring the great facilities. Challenge yourself on the indoor and outdoor rock-climbing walls, enjoy some gold-panning and gemstone fossicking, or experience the thrill of the Cliff Walk or a spooky Ghost Tour. There’s also a good range of restaurants and bars, as well as a terrific local ice-creamery, which also serves good coffee and toasted sandwiches for those of us not quite up to an icy treat in the middle of winter!
This UNESCO World Heritage wilderness area is part of the Lake St Clair National Park, and has some of the most spectacular scenery you and your family will ever encounter. Cradle Mountain is the starting point for the world-famous overland track, which you can either visit for an easy day trip, or spend longer immersing yourself in the magnificent natural environment. There’s an excellent range of accommodation within the Park, offering all levels of comfort, from snug to luxe, but be prepared, as it can get very cold at this time of the year, so pack plenty of warm clothes for all the family.
Bordering the National Park is a fantastic breeding and conservation facility, Devils @ Cradle, a sanctuary dedicated to three of Tasmania’s unique threatened species, the Tasmanian devil, the Spotted-Tail Quoll and the Eastern Quoll. Here, you can observe the animals up close and personal in their native habitat, and learn all about these fascinating species at behind-the-scenes tours and what the Sanctuary is doing to ensure their survival in the wild.
Located in Beauty Point, Seahorse World is a favourite local family attraction, and is ideal for all ages. Learn more about these delightful sea creatures and more of their oceanic neighbours through a fascinating guided tour, then settle in for a delicious lunch-with-a-view at The Cormorant Café on the Pier. Or enjoy freshly house-baked scones with The Cormorant’s renowned Devonshire tea, plus locally roasted coffee and Tasmanian ice cream from Valhalla.
If you’re near Gravelly Beach, it’s definitely worth stopping by Singapore Bakers Café. Husband-and-wife team, Mark and Bee Long bring a welcoming home-cooking vibe to this lovely riverside spot. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and tea – and anything in between – for most of the July school holidays, but the Longs usually take a break after that until reopening in September. Be sure to check out their Facebook page for the latest specials – baked by the talented Bee – but don’t miss a steaming mug of their luscious hot chocolate.
While winter is not typically lavender-harvesting season, a visit to Bridestowe Lavender Estate, about an hour’s drive from Holm Oak, and 45 minutes from Launceston, is a beautiful place to visit at any time of the year. With 260 acres planted with lavender, this is the world’s largest privately owned lavender farm, with some 650,000 plants stretching for almost 200km. And it’s not just lavender planted here – a good part of the property is planted with natives, and attracts plenty of wildlife, too. It’s open all year round for tours of the farm, and there’s also a great shop selling all manner of lavender-based goodies, as well as a lovely café to relax during your visit. We’re also betting the kids won’t let you leave without one of the Estate’s adorable Bobbie the Bridestowe Bears!
Last but not least, discover the brand new Riverbend Park in Invermay which only opened in August 2019. Featuring one of Kompan's giant skywalks, it's a prominent feature of the Park standing at 12 metres high! Aimed at children aged 8 and over, it will offer hours of entertainment for the adventurous at heart.
Riverbend Park is divided into four zones: The River Play area, Gorge Play area, Wild Core area, and Urban Plaza.
Each zone contains a range of play equipment and experiences, including swings, diggers, sand pits, a wheelchair carousel, a water play area, musical instruments, outdoor table tennis, see-saws and a full size sports court.
For more ideas while you’re visiting the Apple Isle these school holidays, don’t forget to read some of our previous blogs, including top tips for visiting Launceston, along with our selection of places to visit in the Tamar Valley on the road to Holm Oak. There are plenty of other great winter highlights, including festivals, restaurants and activities, to experience in Tasmania, too, and we look forward to welcoming you all at Holm Oak while you’re here.
Updated September 2019
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